7 Years Gone

It's strange how events unfold in one's life. Some people you know for a decade disappear from your life never to be seen or thought of again, while others you know for a short period disappear, but remain in your psyche, like a ghost. It is the short life that lingers on, its end embedded in your mind with an exclamation point. A calm breeze brushes your cheek, a familiar scent on the wind touches your mind, and there you are, confronted with a ghost, thought long gone.

It evokes a certain whimsy. Fantasy. The need for nostalgia to become solid and real one more time. To feel those hands, hear that voice, see that smile. But all you’re left with is the memory of what was once a vibrant, beautiful human being. And that memory you can no longer trust, as it adds far more than it can ever remember, to fill the gaps of your inattention.

Inattention permeates your entire waking life. During conversations and meetings with friends are you ever really there, truly paying attention? Do you notice their countenance, the slight lines of life and living in the face, the possible faint remnant of all the pain and suffering in the eyes? When they speak, can you hear the music? The strange and alien rhythms and atonal clusters of notes that make up a human voice?

It is within the seemingly small things where relationship begins. It is the odd turn of phrase catching your attention unexpectedly. It is the way the eyes move to meet yours, then dart away once the stare becomes too longing.

It is when you realize the tiny size of her wrist, and you could wrap your middle finger and thumb around it and still have wiggle room to spare.

Today I am remembering a friend that died on March 10th, 2008. Her name was Mayumi.

I don’t know why she keeps coming back to me. It could be years, and I’ve moved into other areas of life, in other places in the world, and suddenly she’s there, as if she never left.

She smiles and tells me stories of picking wildflowers with her friends. She tells me she likes to write in her diary. I ask her what she writes. “Only the good,” she says. “Only the good.” Documenting hours of only sunshine.

She asks me to play Chopin Nocturnes for her. I do.

She gives me a message for Akiko. “Thank you for always remembering.” Then, with the next breath, she is gone.

And I am left alone, with only the memory. But I will carry it, until I am no longer able to carry anything.

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